Welcome to the new format of Google News Digest! SEMrush will now be bringing you weekly updates of the latest changes in Google Search, Google Ads, and Google Tools so you can keep up with the latest Google developments as they happen.
This week we will cover the announcement for mobile-first indexing for all sites, the new feature in the Rich Results Test tool, newly formatted attribution reports, and more.
As always, the SEMrush team really enjoys hearing your insights and thoughts on the latest Google News. Let us know what you think about this week’s news by leaving a comment below.
GOOGLE SEARCH NEWS
Google Announces Switch To Mobile-First Indexing For All Websites
Google has announced that by September 2020, all websites will be crawled and indexed through mobile-first indexing. According to Google, the majority of sites shown in search results are ready for the move to mobile-first indexing, with 70% of these in Google Search already shifted over.
Prior to all sites being moved later this year, Google has said it will be moving sites to mobile-first indexing when its systems recognize that a site is ready for mobile-first.
Google pointed out that are multiple ways to check for mobile-first indexing in the Search Console. You can check the status on the settings page and also in the URL Inspection Tool when checking a specific URL.
When optimizing sites for mobile-first indexing, Google recommends that users adhere to the following guidelines for both mobile and desktop:
Content (including text, images, links, and videos) are the same.
Metadata (descriptions, titles, robots meta tags), as well as structured data, are all the same.
Carry out checks regarding content and metadata if the website has been recently launched or redesigned.
You can use Google’s URL Testing Tools to check both desktop and mobile versions directly. For more information on this announcement and suggestions, read Announcing Mobile-First Indexing For The Whole Web. You should also review Google’s mobile-first indexing best practices.
Only One FAQ Markup Per Question Per Website: Google’s Updated Rich Result Guidelines
Kenichi Suzuki noticed an update in the FAQ content guidelines for structured data. The update says, “If you have FAQ content that is repetitive on your site (meaning, the same question and answer appear on multiple pages on your site), mark up only one instance of that FAQ for your entire site.”
Barry Schwartz discussed it here.
Google My Business Clarifies That Car Dealerships Are Allowed Multiple Listings
Joy Hawkins was the first to notice that Google updated the help document for car dealership listings on Google My Business.
⭐️New⭐️ from Google My Business. Wondering how many listings a car dealer is allowed? Google has just updated their guidelines as of yesterday to clarify & added some new information. https://t.co/0L5rnMHxBz
— Joy Hawkins (@JoyanneHawkins) March 4, 2020
The document states, “New car dealerships are eligible for multiple listings. You can have one listing for your dealership and one listing for each brand you sell of new cars.” They also explained that new car dealers can get additional listings for different departments, such as sales, parts, or services, within the dealership.
To learn more about claiming dealership listings, verification options, and ways to contact support, visit Google’s document, Get Started With Google My Business For Auto Dealers.
Photos And Videos Will Now Be Reviewed Before Publication On Google My Business
On March 5th, Google My Business announced that they had changed their photo and video content policy, and they must now be reviewed before publication.
We’ve made changes to our photo and video content policy. All photos and videos are now reviewed before publication. If you’re having issues adding photos, check out our photo criteria: https://t.co/XR21n7uM9Z
— Google My Business (@GoogleMyBiz) March 5, 2020
On March 9th, Google sent Barry Schwartz a statement about the update, “To ensure consistency with our policies for user contributed content, we rolled out additional criteria for photos and videos for merchants late last year. We will continue to update and improve these policies over time to ensure all content that appears in the Business Profile is relevant, high quality, and appropriate. While we don’t share specific details about our moderation processes, we do use a combination of automated and manual reviews, and continue to work on making photo approvals as efficient as possible.”
To ensure your photos and videos meet the guidelines for approval, review the Format Specific Criteria provided by Google Maps. They also provide guidelines for Text Reviews & Captions and Events.
New Preview Feature Of How-To Markup In The Google Rich Results Test Tool
Google Webmasters announced that if your how-to structure data is eligible for Guidance with Google Assistant, you can now use the Rich Results Test to preview your results on Google Home and smart displays.
Here is the preview Google provided:
Just like it sounds, a How-to leads a user through a set of steps to successfully complete a task — like how to make peach cobbler. How-tos can include video, images, and text.
If you want your content to be used in Google Home or smart displays, you have to use Use HowTo structured data to tell Google that your content is a how-to.
To see precisely what Google wants, examples, guidelines, and more visit Google’s How-To structured data reference guide.
GOOGLE AD NEWS
New Features Added To The Google Ads Mobile App
Google announced new optimization score features and dark mode for the Google Ads mobile app on March 3rd.
The optimization score can help prioritize recommendations for your campaigns, which will make it easier to quickly improve performance from within the app. You can now see the account and campaign-level optimization scores on the account overview screen. The campaigns that have recommendations with the highest potential impact will be listed first. The aim is to make it easier for ad managers to find the most critical recommendations.
App users can also be notified in real-time when their optimization score changes, but they must opt-in on the settings page.
Dark mode is now available on the settings page of the Google Ads mobile app for those who prefer dark backgrounds or are working in a low-light environment. If you use dark mode in your phone’s settings, the app will be in dark mode automatically.
Attribution Reports In Google Ads Receive A Significant Update
Attribution reports (previously called search attribution) have been given a new look by Google to make it easier for businesses to understand the most important marketing insights.
Google has launched a new experience on Google Ads that will make it easier to process how customers are interacting with business ads throughout the purchase cycle and provide you with important insights. This is through a simplified set of attribution reports — they removed some reports and combined others.
There are now attribution reports in Google Ads for the following:
These reports can be found in Google Ads by clicking the Tools icon. Then go to Measurement and select Attribution.
If you are wondering what the revamped reports look like, here are some examples of the new overview pages
The new overview page allows businesses to see the total percentage of customers who converted after multiple clicks based on advertising. It is also possible to see the customer engagement percentage for ads on every device, as well as those that engaged on more than one device
You can also compare different attribution models with the model comparison report. This report will help users compare their cost per conversion and return on ad spend for different attribution models, like last click, rules-based, and data-driven attribution.
For more information, visit A new look for attribution reports in Google Ads.
Google Search Console Improves Data Export Capabilities
More & Better Data Export In Search Console
Google Search Console revealed some new export updates on February 26th. It is now possible for users to download entire sets of data from almost all Search Console reports. Before this update, it was only possible to download specific table views. Google feels this step will make data sets easier to read outside of the Search Console or to store for future reference.
For example, Google Search Console now allows the user to view the full data behind charts when exporting data from enhancement reports. Google explained, “This means that in addition to the list of issues and their affected pages, you’ll also see a daily breakdown of your pages, their status, and impressions received by them on Google Search results. If you are exporting data from a specific drill-down view, you can see the details describing this view in the exported file.”
Google Sheets or Excel
It is now possible for users to choose to export this report data via Google Sheets or Excel; if users choose either of these options, they will receive a spreadsheet with two tabs. If users choose to download the data as a CSV, a zip file with two CSV files is given instead.
Improvements have also been made to data downloads from performance reports. Users can now download all tabs in one click only. That means being able to retrieve data on pages, Countries, Queries, Devices, Data, and Search appearance all at once.
The download output will work in the same way as in enhancement reports.
An additional update for performance data includes an extra tab or CSV file named “Filters’ allowing users to see applied filters when the data was exported.
More info available at More & better data export in Search Console.
How to Use the Google Console Sitemap Report
Google Search Advocate, Daniel Waisberg explains sitemaps and how to use them in Google Search Console. There are a lot of great tips and information businesses and webmasters need in this video.
Coronavirus and Conferences
Below you will see that Google has postponed or canceled a couple of events due to coronavirus. We feel we should also note that many conferences and tradeshows around the world have also had to postpone or cancel. We urge you to be as supportive as possible in regards to these events.
The financial toll for these organizations postponing will be catastrophic for several of them. If you can afford to wait for the new event data, consider it. Demanding refunds will only further hurt the companies that are still required to pay for the conference centers/locations they rented. Let’s support one another as much as we can.
GDC 2020 Postponed; Digital Experience Offered Instead
Cancellation of Google I/O Event At Shoreline Amphitheater
“All guests who have purchased tickets to I/O 2020 will receive a full refund by March 13, 2020.” – Google
That is all for this week’s digest! If you have thoughts you would like to share about any of the news stories above, please let us know in the comments section below.